Remember how I said I was following all the stress management guidelines and still feeling overwhelmed? Well that day there was a car accident with 11 students involved, 1 who died and 3 who are still in critical condition. The entire college community is grieving, and we have been slammed at the counseling center.
Every day, multiple times a day, I preach the importance of self-care, which includes:
- Sleep: I get at least 6 hours but could use more.
- Eating: I never skip a meal and eat relatively healthy.
- Exercise: I try to play tennis 3x/week and stretch before bedtime.
- Down Time: I give myself plenty of down time. One of the perks of living alone.
- Putting your needs first: I am terrible at this.
In my defense, most helping professionals are pathologically helpful and run the risk of burnout. In fact, if there were an award for Most Likely to Help Other People Until You Collapse, the physicians in my family would be competing for first place.
I forced my dad to read the blog about him, and after he read it he admitted that spending decades on call 24-7, covering every physician who went out of town over the holidays while we stayed home, probably contributed to his depression. When my dad was sick, my mom saw both of their patients and took care of my dad. My brother recently had sinus surgery and was told to take off at least a week from work but went back after 3 days.
So relatively speaking, I’m actually a slacker in my family.
I have been feeling the loss of not having someone to come home to, someone who I can talk about my day with. I have made an effort to reach out to friends, and they have been incredibly helpful, but it doesn’t take the place of having that person who knows everything that’s going on with you on a day-to-day basis, whether they want to or not.
So I’m doing what I can to take care of myself. I went to dinner with friends last night. I was dead tired but it was a rare opportunity to see my tennis mom, who recently abandoned me by moving to South Carolina. She reminded me of the hazards of my “save the world” mentality. I defended myself by saying that I’m not trying to save the world–just the people I meet. It just so happens that I’m meeting a lot of people right now.
And I’m going to a movie tonight after I go into work to facilitate a debriefing session. I’m a little worried about being too drained afterwards but I’m making an effort to do something other than sit at home alone all weekend.
And I’m writing this blog. This is the one place where everything gets to be about me. I get to talk as much as I want without being interrupted, there are people who are interested in what I have to say, and the feedback is almost always positive. And for this I am thankful.